New flightpaths

PUBLISHED: 11:49 28 February 2008 | UPDATED: 13:01 06 May 2010

SIR, — The National Air Traffic Service (NATS) have launched a public consultation to reroute flights throughout the South East, including those in and out of Luton (http://www.consultation.nats.co.uk). In simple terms the more efficient that NATS can mak

SIR, - The National Air Traffic Service (NATS) have launched a public consultation to reroute flights throughout the South East, including those in and out of Luton (http://www.consultation.nats.co.uk). In simple terms the more efficient that NATS can make the air-traffic system, the more aeroplanes they can pack into our skies and the more money the Government and the airlines can all make.

Part of the reason for wanting to make these changes is so that NATS can fulfil the Government's requirement to reduce the number of people affected by aircraft noise, by redirecting traffic that would normally fly over built-up areas to ensure that it flies over more rural areas.

So if you're one of those people who spends all week working in London but likes to enjoy a bit of peace and tranquillity walking, cycling or just enjoying our beautiful countryside at the weekend, then you'd better think again. The number of people affected by 57 decibels, which the Government considers to cause significant disturbance, will more than double near Luton. And if you happen to have chosen to live in one of the district's villages because you enjoy a bit of peace and tranquillity, you should be worried as these proposals will mean even more overhead flights than we already suffer.

Not only that, NATS is planning to introduce a new navigation system which means that the route will literally be a line. At the moment the route is more of a broad band. So those places that may be affected will suffer from an intensity of noise and pollution where in the past they may have had an occasional overflight. Places which may be affected by these proposals are local parts of the countryside that many people love - the Ayots, Wheathampstead, Sandridge, Ayot Greenway, in fact all of the Green Belt between St Albans and Harpenden. One of the proposed routes for easterly departures to the South West will fly directly over Nomansland Common.

And don't lets think that all of this is designed to reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment. Because the routes are less direct, they will burn more fuel and emit more CO2. In short the countryside will be blighted by more aircraft traffic and noise and we will suffer from greater pollution too. It's hard to understand what kind of peculiar logic could be at work here, unless it's the logic of pure profit, but their profit will be at the expense of our quality of life and our environment.

The consultation will run until the May 22 - that's just 13 weeks for anyone concerned about the proposals to understand the complex information and to formulate their objection to it. Simply not enough time for the average member of the public to grasp the consequences of these proposals - but perhaps this is what they have in mind. Anyone who is concerned about the impact of rerouted flights to look at the consultation on the NATS website and give your views either by letter or on-line and/or get in touch with myself at cllr.j.shardlow@stalbans.gov.uk or Wheathampstead Parish Councillor Lisa Hobden at lisa.hobden@googlemail.com

CLLR JUDY SHARDLOW,

St Albans District Council.

CLLR LISA HOBDEN,

Wheathampstead Parish Council.

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